Written by Elijah J. Magnier:
Iran has returned to the negotiating table in Vienna Monday after nearly five months of suspension. The indirect US-Iranian talks collide with Tehran’s stockpile of enriched uranium, which recently amounted to 60 percent, with a total of 23 kilograms. Moreover, Iran insists on its justified escalatory stance due to the US administration’s nuclear deal violations, which tore up the agreement in 2018, described it as “the worse deal”, and imposed and kept the maximum sanctions throughout two administrations, while Europe took a passive, bystander position. Although the EU states signatories of the nuclear deal managed their way mediating between Iran and the US and have suggested a feasible plan forward, Iran negotiates from a strong position, making any concessions to the opposite side of the Vienna talk much harder. The US may be able to slow down the Iranian nuclear program but will never deprive Iran of the knowledge it has acquired throughout the decades.
There is no doubt that Tehran benefited from the Israeli sabotage operations against the Karaj complex that destroyed at least a surveillance camera set up by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Consequently, Iran did not allow international monitors to replace the faulty camera, keeping the IAEA unsatisfied and maintaining a blind spot. However, Iran is keen not to push the IAEA delegates beyond their limits to not submit adverse reports to the United Nations. If that were the case, the US or European sanctions would remain (if European state members decide to sanction Iran) without reaching the UN or embracing China and Russia, Iran’s more significant supporters and strategic partners.
In the worst-case scenario, if additional sanctions are imposed on Iran or even if the US decides the (most improbable) war option, no measure could alter or degrade Tehran’s nuclear scientific capabilities and knowledge. Iran has developed advanced centrifuges that would allow it, at any time, to produce a nuclear arsenal if prompted to do so. Although Wali’ al-Fakih Sayed Ali Khamenei had issued a fatwa forbidding the pursuit of purely nuclear weapons, the west would do well not to push Iran to the path of building nuclear bombs because it feels under existential threat.
Iran needs to go from 60 percent of enriched uranium to 90 percent to manufacture nuclear military capability. It has the technological capabilities to reach any desired level of enriched uranium at the Natanz and Fordow reactors, using advanced centrifuges that have the necessary speed to achieve the highest percentage. That knowledge will never be erased from the minds of Iranian scholars and scientists because Iran is not new to the nuclear field.
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Proofread by: Maurice Brasher